Update: They’re here! Welcome to the world, Whitaker John and Davis Ray.
We are stumped for names for our twin boys due in June and would love some help.
We love vintage names that are not too uncommon that people will think strange. We live in the midwest, so super hipster names don’t quite fit here.
For our daughter we chose Lila Kate. My husband and I are Luke and Elizabeth. The kicker is our last name. It’s very unique, bold and attention-grabbing …. B@tm@n! Yes, we have a superhero last name.
With our last name, we have to think about things a little more. Obviously no Bruce, Wayne, or Alfred!
We would like to honor grandparents as middle names with John being one for sure and either Ernest or Roy for the other.
I’m finding it difficult to latch onto boy names the way I do with girl names. I have a long list of girl names I love and no boy names. Here are some on our list to give you an idea of our style – but I’m honestly not in love with any:
- Will or William
Can you and your readers help us come up with some great twin boy names that will fit well with Lila Kate AND a last name like B@tm@n?
Read on for my response, and please leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Hi Elizabeth –
Congratulations on your twins – how exciting!
I have friends with the last name Hunter, and while it’s not as surprising a surname as B@tm@n, they did find that a great many names created phrases. What Rose Hunter likely to become a botanist? Is Will B@tm@n a question?
If you’re dealing with this kind of surname, I think there are two rules of thumb:
- Evergreen, classic names get a pass. Yes, Rose and Will can be word names, but they’re so broadly familiar to us as given names that we don’t automatically stop and think about it. It’s unusual word names that create noticeable phrases with word name surnames.
- If you would prefer to use a less common name, that works, too – just as long as the name is obviously a name, rather than a noun. Sailor B@tm@n is a non-starter now, but if Sailor becomes a Top Ten name in the future? Maybe …
Of course, it sounds like you’re looking for a name that stands out just a little bit: vintage, but not so vintage that you must immediately relocate to Park Slope and adopt a wardrobe of skinny jeans and ironic tees.
Happily there are plenty of familiar boys’ names that hit that sweet spot:
Henry – My first thought was Henry. Like Lila, Henry is a name that feels very current in 2016. The only problem is that it’s more popular than you might like. Henry is in the current US Top 40, and continues to catch on. Still, Henry B@tm@n sounds exactly right, and I love Henry as a brother for Lila.
Theo, Theodore – Another traditional name with a long history of use. Theodore is outside of the current US Top 100. Just Theo is even less common, but, of course most Theodores are Theo nowadays. Theo B@tm@n – I barely even notice that the surname graces the cover of comic books!
Ezra – The line between hipster names and vintage names can be thin, and tough to draw. Ezra is literary and hasn’t been super-common in recent generations, so that’s a strike against the name. But it’s not so different from #1 Noah, and that zippy ‘z’ ending is helping more parents discover the name. Ezra B@tm@n; Lila and Ezra. I like those two together.
Jonathan – Here’s a thought: what if you took family name John, and expanded it to Jonathan? It sounds great with Roy or Ernest as middle names, or you could choose something completely different. Jonathan is the epitome of a normal name – we’ve all heard it before – and yet it’s not overwhelmingly common. (It reached the US Top 20 in the 1980s, and has been in the Top 100 since the 1960s, yet I don’t think of it as tied to any particular decade.) I also think a longer name works well with your two-syllable surname. It’s nickname-rich: Jack, Jono, Jonty, Nat, Nate, and Jon all come to mind. But I like it best in full. It reminds me quite a bit of Julian, probably my favorite from your original list.
Oliver – I hesitate to include Oliver, because it’s a popular name that has caught on quickly in recent years. And yet, it has the same ‘v’ sound you like in Everett and Levi. It’s exactly the right style, too – traditional and vintage, but not so out there that it’s considered hipster. I love it as a brother name for Lila, it pairs well with nearly every name on this list, and it sounds perfect with your surname – Oliver B@tm@n.
Dexter – I hesitate to include Dexter, because I do think it still reads slightly hipster. And yet. Lila and Dexter. Dex B@tm@n. Dexter B@tm@n. It’s a quirky-cool name that stands up to a surprising surname.
Maxwell, Max – The ‘x’ in Dexter got me thinking about Maxwell and Max. There are a lot of little boys with Max names these days. And yet, I do think it’s a traditional name that feels vintage and remains outside of the most popular names in the US, so it belongs on this list.
Calvin – Nearly every two-syllable, ends-in-n name that I’ve considered sounds a little off, and yet Calvin works, I think. It has the great letter ‘v’ you’re drawn to, plus it’s vintage but not too out-there.
Now, let’s take a look at some possible combinations:
- Julian and Maxwell – Jules and Max for short, if you like.
- Arthur and Ezra – Both feel vintage
- Henry and Oliver – A traditional, balanced pair that isn’t too perfectly matched – but still goes together well.
- Theodore and Jonathan – Two longer names with easy nicknames.
- Ezra and Everett – If you’re inclined to match the first initial.
- Calvin and Dexter – Cal and Dex, if you like. Both names have a high value Scrabble letter (v and x) and a certain retro appeal.
My favorite is Henry and Oliver – Henry Ernest and Oliver Roy, I think.
Readers, what would you suggest to Elizabeth for her new sons?
I have a friend with a son Theodore Roy
C in DC says
Nathaniel Roy and Cornelius John. Nate and Neil. Or how about Neil Ernest and Roy John?
I love this list! My son is named Maxwell so I am loving all the love his name is getting! We get a lot of positive comments about it.
I think my favorite pairing is Maxwell and Julian, but really there are so many stellar names in here I don’t think you could go wrong!
I love Arthur, Walter and Julian from your list and think any combo of those would be great. Other names that could be mixed into that group: Gabriel, Samuel, Oliver, Henry, Wesley, Edward, Charles and Peter. My favs are Arthur and Walter or Julian and Wesley. Another idea is shorter names – do you like Leo and Max? I think they sound good with your last name.
Thought of Oscar and August too. And Felix but not sure if these are hipsterish or not to you.
I know a Lila with two brothers named Victor and Finn.
I think Victor definitely works with your style!
Victor John and Maxwell Roy
Victor Ernest and Frederick John
Wesley John and Henry Ernest
Wesley Roy and Vincent John
Isaac Roy and Oliver John
Isaac John and Miles Roy
Mark Ernest and Peter John
Peter John and Alec Roy
I like Victor too. And it makes me think of Vincent. Obvs only one or the other but both are nice and both, I think go with Lila Kate.
Vincent and Oliver, Vincent and Maxwell, Vincent and Wesley.
Ohhhh! You’re good at this! Those are actually really good suggestions!
kelsey D says
I completely understand how you are feeling. After we had our daughter, we had the most impossible time trying to come up with boy names. I never did fully fall in love with a boy name at the time… we ended up having an Oliver and I can’t imagine him being named anything else. Since then, I have a massive long list of boy names that I love. Sounds like we are in the same style, so I’ll share with you what I would name twin boys 🙂
I also find that with naming twin boys, it’s all about what order you say them in. I don’t like Theodore and Charles. But if you say Charles and Theodore, I all of a sudden love them together!!
Oliver and Charles.
Oliver and Theodore.
Oliver and George.
Charles and Theodore.
Charles and Walter. Now… I know you said Walter doesn’t seem just right, but what about about Charlie and Walt?? Sigh. I’m hoping that by some sort of luck that I will become pregnant with twin boys and they will be named Charles and Walter. Charlie and Walt are just too perfect.
What about Charles and Louis (Lou-ee)…. I LOVE Louis.
Louis and George.
Another name I love is Maxwell… but instead of using Max as the shortened name, use Wells. OR just use Wells instead of the full Maxwell.
Charles and Wells.
Oliver and Wells.
Theodore and Maxwell. Theo and Wells. LOVE this.
OOOH… What about Henry and Arlo. LOVE LOVE LOVE this.
Ohh… what about Frederick and Oswald. Fitz and Ozzy. Kind of has a really cool retro vibe to it (if you like that).
AHHH… good luck. Can you please keep and us posted and Abby, can you please update us????
The Mrs. says
Levi reminds me of Ezra (and on Abby’s list!). Ezra makes me think of Boaz.
Lila, Ezra, and Boaz.
How do you like brothers named Kincade and Colfax? Cade and Cole? Lila, Cade, and Cole?
Nicodemus John *might* be your style… Josiah Roy, too. Nic and Joe B@tm@n.
Jasper (too hipster?)
Love the suggestions of Julian, Oliver and Maxwell. I also love Everett, Graham and James as suggested above.
Here are some suggestions I haven’t seen yet:
Lila Kate B@tman and baby brothers:
Thomas John and Samuel Roy
Alexander John and Nathaniel Roy
Jonah Roy and Silas John
Elliot John and Gabriel Ernest
I love the idea of expanding John to Jonathon. You can get some great nicknames from it – Jon, Johnny, Jono or Joss and Nate if you’re looking for unexpected. Use Jonathon Roy and you could use JR or Jory.
For some reason Christopher comes to mind as the perfect pairing and I see you like Christian. Jonathon and Christopher feel literary and nostalgic. Christopher Ernest. Chris, Topher, my fave of all time – Kip!!
I know you said vintage and Jonathon and Christopher may feel too traditional but an expected vintage nickname really creates a standout!
Do you like Elliot? I like the alliteration of Elliot Ernest. Nickname Eli or Lio if you want unexpected.
Jonathon Roy B@tm@n nn Jory
Christopher Ernest B@tm@n nn Kip
Jory & Kip! I’m smitten 🙂
I love Calvin and Dexter! Calvin is an old, old love of mine. Dexter is a new love, but I think they go perfectly together.
I’d do Calvin Roy and Dexter John so the middle names matched in syllable count. That also lets you avoid “Calvin John” unless you’re ok with people associating him with John Calvin the theologian. Maybe only other theologians would notice, but it would be a deal breaker for me.
Calvin Roy and Dexter John are a great pair! I also like Henry and Oliver as well as Walter from the original list.
I’d avoid Henry personally with Batman- Harry batman?
I love the pairings of Jonathan and Theodore or Julian and Maxwell.
Well … yes, if they were at all inclined to use Harry as NN for Henry. But I think the tendency to use Harry as a nn for Henry is fading, at least in the US.
How about something half-way between Henry and Oliver: Avery?
(And I really like someone else’s suggestion of Julian!)
C in DC says
I know a brother of a Lila named Finn. Would you like Finn? I also like Graham, James and maybe Wyatt for you. Charlie and Lewis are cute too, but I don’t know how you feel about repeating a first initial.
I have a son named Everett and am currently loving on Walter as a possibility for future sons. (Our last name is also a word-name…). Other names to consider Tobias, Elias, Felix and Leonard.
Julian and Maxwell may very well be my new favorite boy twin paring.